BACKGROUND: Patients with metastatic sarcomas have poor outcomes and although the disease may be amenable to immunotherapies, information regarding the immunologic profiles of soft tissue sarcoma (STS) subtypes is limited. METHODS: The authors identified patients with the common STS subtypes: leiomyosarcoma, undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS), synovial sarcoma (SS), well-differentiated/dedifferentiated liposarcoma, and myxoid/round cell liposarcoma. Gene expression, immunohistochemistry for programmed cell death protein (PD-1) and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), and T-cell receptor Vβ gene sequencing were performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumors from 81 patients. Differences in liposarcoma subsets also were evaluated. RESULTS: UPS and leiomyosarcoma had high expression levels of genes related to antigen presentation and T-cell infiltration. UPS were found to have higher levels of PD-L1 (P≤.001) and PD-1 (P≤.05) on immunohistochemistry and had the highest T-cell infiltration based on T-cell receptor sequencing, significantly more than SS, which had the lowest (P≤.05). T-cell infiltrates in UPS also were more oligoclonal compared with SS and liposarcoma (P≤.05). A model adjusted for STS histologic subtype found that for all sarcomas, T-cell infiltration and clonality were highly correlated with PD-1 and PD-L1 expression levels (P≤.01). CONCLUSIONS: In the current study, the authors provide the most detailed overview of the immune microenvironment in sarcoma subtypes to date. UPS, which is a more highly mutated STS subtype, provokes a substantial immune response, suggesting that it may be well suited to treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors. The SS and liposarcoma subsets are less mutated but do express immunogenic self-antigens, and therefore strategies to improve antigen presentation and T-cell infiltration may allow for successful immunotherapy in patients with these diagnoses. Cancer 2017;123:3291-304.
- T-cell receptors
- gene expression
- programmed cell death protein (PD-1)
- programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)